The linden tree (Tilia) is commonly known as the basswood. Many varieties flourish around the world. The trees can easily attain a height of 120 feet but usually hovers around 80 feet with a trunk diameter that measures 54 inches. The lifespan is known to reach 140 years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The trees are hardy and tolerate a wide range of weather situations with ease. Honey made from the linden tree blossoms is believed to be the best in the world.
The linden tree requires a nitrogen-rich location to truly flourish. The tree accepts a wide range of pH balances that range from 4.5 to 7.5. The ideal pH for the linden tree is 7.0. Soil should be moist with an abundant organic material. Fertilize in the spring and summer, using a well-balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10.
A seedling will tolerate partial shade when young. The shade helps protect the young tree from the heat of summer and often helps the soil retain more abundant moisture. As the tree grows, it will have greater sunlight requirements so the tree's new growth should place the tree taller than the surrounding vegetation. Plant seedlings in a location by short shrubs for their early years and, then, as the trees grow, they will surpass the shrubs in height to receive full sunlight.
Aphids often plague the linden tree. They enjoy feeding in large colonies around the new foliage growth and the spring flowers of the tree. If aphids become a problem, simply hose them off using water for control. Regularly hose the tree's foliage every few days to control the aphid colonies.
The linden looper (Errannis tiliaria) causes widespread damage to linden tree groves. The larvae feed on the foliage of the linden tree from April to mid-July. The insect plagues many hardwood tree species, but its favorite is the linden tree. The caterpillars cause widespread defoliation. Once the caterpillars are finished feeding, they burrow into the soil surrounding the tree and emerge later as moths to lay eggs, and the cycle begins again. The linden tree can be killed after two years of nonstop seasonal feeding by the insects. Apply insecticides for linden looper control in May.
Protect the roots of the linden tree by keeping livestock away. Livestock commonly trample the shallow, delicate roots of the tree and cause it to weaken. The linden tree has very thin bark, so it is easily susceptible to wounds during regular lawn maintenance, fire or other disturbances. Try to keep the tree wound-free. If the tree does sustain an injury, promptly seal with a commercial tree sealant to keep out fungal infections.